It’s easy to Fall in Love with Sterling Silver Jewelry especially when it’s Vintage with a History! Sterling Silver Jewelry is a durable precious metal, and has been around since ancient times. The metal alloy originated in Europe, and was used as early as the twelfth century. Sterling Silver will last for centuries to come with proper care. It just won’t wear down. Its richness, brilliance, durability, workability, and beautiful silky lustrous texture against the skin, make it a desired choice in jewelry.
In our journeys searching for sterling, we’ve come across a lot of people asking questions about it. We hope this information is helpful in understanding the basics of this beautiful metal.
What does the 925 or STER stamp mean on jewelry?
Sterling Silver has a standard fineness of 92.5 percent which is 925 parts per thousand silver. 925 marked on Sterling Jewelry represents the silver fineness. Sterling Jewelry can also be seen marked with the words Sterling, Sterling Silver or STER for short. These sterling marks, also called hallmarks, may be followed by assayer’s marks, maker’s mark or a registered trademark of the manufacturer. The definition of hallmark is the mark seen on silver indicating the metal content. This assures the buyer of the quality of the piece. There is often a misconception that the hallmark is the same as the signature of a piece.
Pure silver is .999 pure but is too soft for daily use, therefore it needs to be combined with other metals to make it a stronger alloy. Copper is one of the most commonly used metals mixed with pure silver in order to strengthen it, and is also one of the reasons why tarnish forms on Sterling Silver Jewelry.
Is all Sterling Jewelry marked?
Much of the antique and vintage jewelry such as Vintage Native American Jewelry is neither marked Sterling or 925. In the United States, marking jewelry is relatively modern, and only became a standard in the nineteenth century. There are several types of test kits available on the market to determine the fineness of the silver content of your item. When using acid testers, it is advisable to test in an inconspicuous place on the silver. If you test your jewelry, and it actually is silver plate then the acid will ruin the finish in the area where you tested it. An alternative of testing silver yourself is to ask a jeweler to test it for you. After some time of handling Sterling Silver, you will become accustomed to the look and feel of it versus Silver Plate.
How to Care and Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry?
Many collectors prefer to preserve the aged appearance of tarnished Vintage Sterling Silver Jewelry. Other collectors choose to keep the darkened tarnish only in the intricate engraved areas of a necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings. This is a matter of preference. Wearing your jewelry is the best way to keep your jewelry tarnish-free and looking beautiful all the time. If your Vintage Sterling Silver Jewelry does get deeply tarnished then a light polishing to the surface with a soft polishing cloth will bring out the striking contrast of your engraved piece. Avoid harsh chemicals at all cost since it will ruin the silver. Always store your Vintage Sterling Silver Jewelry separately from other precious metals.
We may not all be born with a Silver Spoon but at least when we actually get one, it’s wonderful knowing all about it.
by Sharon of Years After on Ruby Lane